Leadership begins in the home.
As leaders we must understand the gravity of this one statement. If we can’t lead our homes what makes us believe we can lead others?
Peter’s mother-in-law is sick with fever. Let’s be honest. You must be a pretty good leader if you’re being asked to pray for someone’s mother-in-law! Leadership is all about restoring others, serving others and loving others.
Isn’t this the model Jesus left for us? He loved others. He served others and he brought restoration to lives.
Note what happens next. The crowd comes to Jesus. Jesus simply helps one woman. She then responds by utilizing her gifts. She served. Leadership is all about helping others discover their gifts and then seeing them act upon them. This builds the Kingdom!
Following this, the crowd comes to Jesus. Leadership is not about attempting to draw a crowd to yourself. It’s about serving the one and then watching what God does in the midst of your service.
How are you utilizing your leadership for the one?
Luke 1.80 – “John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.”
Growth as a leader demands being strong in spirit. This fortitude comes from spending time in the wilderness, where authenticity is forged. It’s only then that we can/should begin our public ministry. So what exactly does it mean to be in the wilderness?
Recall that even Jesus spent time in the wilderness (Luke 4.1-14). We too must pass through this season of testing. The wilderness constructs us into the leader God desires. Every leader must face this character building process. It is designed to develop the necessary skills and fine-tune the gifts God has given.
You may feel alone, rejected, or abandoned. Fear and doubt set it as your journey takes you to places you never thought you would cross. The wilderness strengthens us for the next task, often one that demands more fortitude. The greater the vision, the harsher the wilderness.
God allows us to proceed in these times to confirm his call and the vision at hand. Not for his sake, he already knows, but for ours. Too many leaders go to great lengths to avoid or pass through the wilderness too quick. This is a grave mistake and may very well cost them in the long run.
As a leader in God’s Kingdom, learn to see the wilderness as a sign that God is bringing you to a place of great strength for the task at hand.
Have you or are you currently in a wilderness experience?
How do you handle wilderness?
How might this experience strengthen and confirm the vision?
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I find it incredibly fascinating how God orchestrates the opening chapter of Luke. He begins with an elderly couple unable to have children, although I’m sure they had tried several times over the year.
Following, we are introduced to a young virgin who is told she will have a baby. But the contrasts don’t stop here. Note the following contrasts.
Zechariah – older, male, priest, married, doubted the angel. Mary – younger, female, engaged, from Nazareth (see John 1.46), believed the angel.
One more contrast shows itself in our story. Zechariah is unable to speak once he discovers his wife, Elizabeth is going to have a child. This due to his unbelief. Mary, on the other hand, sings from a heart of utter belief (Luke 1.47-56)!
Two unique individuals, both chosen by God, yet very different from one another.
This tells me that a creative God is not only able, but also chooses to use people and their diversity with great intentionality and for great purpose.
How many times have you compared yourself with another individual, questioning whether or not you could be a leader? How many times have you been jealous of someone’s abilities rather than recognize the unique qualities God has given you? How many times have you tried to be like someone else or do something like someone else? Again, realizing that God has called you, with all your gifts, personality and strengths.
As God calls you to newer levels of leadership, never forget that he understands what he’s getting when he calls. He chose you. Time to push beyond your insecurities, your doubts, your failures, and disappointments. Its time to lead.
What’s the biggest reason you hesitate to step out and lead?
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I’m sure the very first Christmas was a bit messy. An unmarried couple forced to travel a long distance and then deliver a baby in a stable, surrounded by animals. It must have been extremely lonely, what with no family around. Lonely, that is, until uninvited, unknown guests showed up with, some would call, interesting, gifts for the newborn child.
Stable, animals, strangers, umbilical cord…messy.
Today, most of us try to neatly package Christmas. “The stocking were hung by the chimney with care…”
Yet I’m not sure this Christmas will be any less messy than the first one. Anyone who thinks differently has never ventured out on Black Friday or gone to the mall on Christmas Eve.
So it is this Christmas, rather than make any feeble attempts to package Christmas in a nicely wrapped container, let’s admit that Christmas can be messy.
For this reason I offer Luke 1.30-33 to you, a bit messier than you’re used to seeing it.
But if you look closely and take your time, you’ll see the message of that first Christmas.
A Savior born in a stable, in a stone manger. His name…
Jesus…placed in a stone container.
Later placed in a tomb…covered by a stone.
Three days later…the stone was rolled away.
From birth to resurrection…surrounded by a stone.
Now our Chief Cornerstone (1 Peter 2.6).
May your Christmas be a bit messy and wonderfully merry.
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The average person will spend about $800 on gifts this year. Tragically one year from now the giver of gifts will have little to show for it. To leave a meaningful gift is to leave one that outlasts you…one that costs YOU something. Something you can’t put a price tag on but has incredible value to the recipients.
So why not make Christmas a bit more spectacular this year? Not that your previous holiday celebrations have not already been marvelous. But what about doing something a bit extraordinary?
Each of us have our favorite holiday traditions. My favorite is having the family come over to open stockings and then have a hearty breakfast. By all means, keep those…just add one or two others. Why not do something outside the wrapped Christmas box?
If you’re reading this blog (thanks!), you’ve celebrated at least seven December 25ths, (more than likely several more than that). Why not do something that creates more of a life legacy and less of a pile of discarded wrapping paper. A gift that’s truly long-lasting and huge!
So in the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, here are 12 gift suggestions that outlive you.
- Invite someone in your neighborhood/community who doesn’t have family to join you for dinner
- Sponsor a child – http://www.compactfamilyservices.org/home
- Help serve dinner or lead Christmas carols in a nursing home
- Give a gift to a child – http://www.prisonfellowship.org
- Surprise a police officer with a coffee gift card
- Feed a child – http://www.feedone.com
- Purchase a tree w/lights for a single parent family
- Donate coats, blankets, clothes to a homeless shelter
- Volunteer as a family at a soup kitchen/shelter
- Give an offering to your favorite charity
- Give a handmade ornament to co-workers
- Purchase a small gift, given with a message of encouragement, to hand out to people you come in contact with during the day. These could include grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, waiters, mall security, bank tellers, etc…
In other words do something for someone who can offer you nothing in return. Make this holiday truly a holiday about giving. After all isn’t this the reason Christmas began in the first place?
What new tradition will you add this Christmas?
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